There will be a ton of high-school athletics to write and read about later this week, so I want to touch on the pro sports being played here in town for a moment.
The oddly-named Orlando SeaWolves — we never did find out what sound a sea wolf makes — who played in Kissimmee despite their name, concluded their season last weekend at the Silver Spurs Arena.
Indoor soccer was a new venture to the Osceola County arena — it’s hosted hockey and indoor football teams and a couple of college basketball tournaments as well as the old Great Florida Shootout a couple times. By and large, fans didn’t take to the new game as attendance didn’t meet hopes or anticipation.
Those who missed it, missed out. The game is fun, fast-paced and moves quickly; most games take just two hours to play out. There’s plenty of scoring — most game scores are of the 7-5 or 8-6 variety, but the SeaWolves did play games that were 15-10 and 12-7.
And, to make you feel worse about missing it, the team’s leading scorer, Gordy Gurson, has earned a reputation around the Major Arena Soccer League as being “a pest.” That’s the guy you want playing for your team — the opposite of love is not hate, it’s apathy.
I took in most of the home games covering them in this space. The team did about as well or maybe underachieved a bit (9-15 record) on the scoreboard, but they played in a division with a leading candidate to win the MASL title (the Milwaukee Wave) and had a home-and-home series with an indoor soccer legacy team (the Baltimore Blast) that Coach Tom Traxler called “the Cadillac of indoor teams.”
I never did find out what kind of car Trax thought the SeaWolves were. Maybe a Prius? The kind that really gets moving once you’ve had it plugged in for a while.
I also thought that Orlando City soccer fans from Orange County and parts beyond would come to Kissimmee to cheer on another home team during the MLS offseason. But the word from those who came down to see one of the first two games was that the team might as well have been playing on Mars — “It’s too far to go in bad traffic.”
Will they be back? I hear things both ways, and it’s all scuttlebutt and I can’t back any of it up. It’s a winter league and guys from down south (where they speak Spanish) and up north — Chicago-native Gurson confirmed this — would rather play in a mostly-winter league in Central Florida than Milwaukee, Kansas City, Harrisburg or Baltimore. They play in shorts and, while the games are indoors, the cold is no fun …
… Speaking of no fun, the Florida Fire Frogs aren’t having it in the front office, with talk of being offered a buy-out to end their lease after this season, the team is having plenty of fun on the field. They scored a bunch of runs last weekend in Port St. Lucie and have been getting some really solid pitching performances. They’re home through Saturday, which is Field of Dreams Night, which is cool if you liked the movie (I find myself stopping and watching chunks of it if it comes up channel surfing, and I’ve seen it a hundred times). Life hack: bring your glove. Just trust me.
Bottom line: If you want to be a fan of pro baseball and who the Atlanta Braves hope are their future stars, don’t let the legal talk stop you from going to the ballpark. That stuff means nothing to the game on the field.
Will they be back? The indications everyone hears say ‘no’, but again, my ears pick up many voices, and they say things I can’t share right now. Which leads to what other voices say about me. Yes, I do work for the team that I get paid for. I’m one of the Fire Frogs’ official scorers and I run the real-time play-by-play and stats program. It’s work I enjoy and I’d do it without payment (but, hey, they gotta pay somebody), and if the team does something boneheaded off the field (or if my check doesn’t clear), I’ll be the first person to bring it up.
Plus, the food over there is amazing. If you go, don’t just settle for a dog and a beer …
… When you drove around early this week, did you notice a lot of houses with un-mowed lawns, a typical Sunday chore?
They were probably watching Tiger.
Well done, Mr. Woods, congratulations on your fifth Masters victory, and welcome back to the echelon you helped create.
As a big golf fan, I have to admit my assessment of Woods after his return from a life scandal and a handful of back surgeries was “a little off”.
I’m sure he’ll win a couple regular PGA Tour events again, I said. But he’ll never win a major. Jack Nicklaus’ career record is safe.
Be very afraid, Mr. Nicklaus.
The leaderboard reads: Nicklaus, 18 major victories; Woods, 15 wins. But the next two majors, the PGA Championship and U.S. Open, will be held at courses (Pebble Beach and Bethpage, N.Y.) where he’s already won majors by dominating the field; he won at Pebble by fifteen shots in 2000. And the 43-year old is already the betting-line favorite to win the PGA next month.
Watch much golf? Well, this oughta be fun — right up there with a baseball game and seeing indoor soccer.